Paddy Barnes [6(1)-2(1)] is adamant he won’t allow Jay Harris [16(8)-0] distort his 2020 vision.
The three time Olympian and two time bronze medal winner has light flyweight world title aspirations and is determine to fight for a win a world crown next year.
The Belfast fighter takes a risky flyweight pit stop this weekend as he takes on the unbeaten European champion at the Ulster Hall.
Barnes is under no illusion as to the size of the task facing him but remains bullish.
“I have big plans for next year now and I don’t imagine Jay Harris is going to stop me from turning those dreams into reality. I know it’ll be tough but I also know I need this win to fulfil my aspirations,” said Barnes.
Having sparred the Welsh fighter ‘The Leprechaun’ is aware of what awaits. He has been consistent in predicting an exciting fight and a difficult nights work. However, the Danny Vaughan trained fighter believes he has that little bit more to his armoury – and as a result is confident of victory on top of the latest #MTKFightNight.
“Jay’s an out and out fighter. That’s my game as well but what I can do as well is box. I’m a boxer-fighter where as he’s more a straightforward fighter. It’s going to be great to watch because we’re going to clash head on. Fans will love it.”
After he put behind him back to back defeats with victory over Joel Sanchez at the Falls Park in August, Barnes had discussed dropping down to light fly from where he would launch a world title bid.
Such a risky fight at flyweight raised eyebrows, but the popular 32-year-old claims the fight fits into his plans and notes he isn’t one to turn down a challenge.
“I got the win at Feile an Phobail and that was great. I’m back to winning ways and that’s what was important after back-to-back defeats. I’m 10 times better than that so I’ll push on from there.
“I’m still open to getting to light-flyweight by March. Getting to flyweight was my next target and I’ve a big fight at this weight so it’s even better.”
Harris, who has been respectful in the build up, has confirmed he will bring a large and vocal support to the Ulster Hall on Friday, but Barnes claims the Swansea fighter won’t be ready for the noise generated by Belfast fans in the compact venue.
“It’s great to be fighting in Belfast. The fans are unbelievable with their noise and I guess it could have an effect. I don’t think he’s fought in a cauldron like a packed Ulster Hall. I’ve fought in massive arenas as both an amateur and a professional.
Joining Barnes vs. Harris on a stacked bill is Sean McComb vs. Emiliano Dominguez, Marco McCullough vs. Viorel Simion, Terry Flanagan vs. Michael Ansah, Lewis Crocker, Gary Cully, Pierce O’Leary, Paddy Donovan, Sean Duffy and Ruari Dalton.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)